Here at Perdeby, we think growing up should be optional. Jumping castles, ice-cream for breakfast and surprise parties are too good to be limited to just a few years of our lives. The same goes for cartoons – which is why we’ve put together this list. Best viewed on a Saturday morning with a bowl of Coco Pops.

Adventure Time

Jake the dog and Finn the human spend their days adventuring in a land populated with candy people, princesses and, of course, evil which needs to be vanquished (and inevitably is). Sounds pretty innocent, right? It would be, except for the fact that Finn and Jake are among the survivors of a nuclear apocalypse that was a result of “The Great Mushroom War”. According to the creator of Adventure Time, Pendleton Ward, the show is set in a time “after the bombs have fallen and magic has come back into the world”.

There are plenty of sinister things still lurking, though – like the Ice King (voiced by Tom Kenny, who you may know as the voice of the Mayor and the narrator in The Powerpuff Girls, and of course the iconic SpongeBob SquarePants). The Ice King has magical powers and the ability to fly using his long, white beard. Unfortunately, he also has what can only be described as psychopathic tendencies: he spends his time attempting to kidnap and forcibly marry various princesses. Finn and Jake, in turn, spend a lot of time rescuing them.

Apart from its eerie post-apocalyptic background, Adventure Time is littered with adult references – despite the fact that it is currently screening on kid’s channel Cartoon Network. For example, one episode sees Jake becoming half human. Not only is the image of a (rather chubby) human body with a dog’s head quite jarring, but Jake also casually plays with his man boobs. Cue awkward silence. Still, the show continues to enchant both children and adults alike with its quirky and offbeat humour. It has been nominated for various awards, including two Emmys.

Invader Zim

Although this show ran for only two seasons in 2001 and 2002, it has become a cult classic. It follows the story of an alien, Zim, and his robot, Gir, who come to Earth posing as humans in the hope of furthering Zim’s ambition of taking over and/or destroying the planet. Earning three awards (two of them Emmys) and seven nominations during its relatively short run, the show was a critical success but saw a dive in ratings after the first season. Fans have stayed strong, though, and in 2011 (nearly a decade after the show’s cancellation) even began holding a fan convention called InvaderCON.

The show is famous for its dark humour as well as the lovable eccentricity of Gir. However, it has also come under criticism for its macabre themes. In 2006, 17-year-old Scott Dyleski was accused (and later found guilty) of bludgeoning his next-door neighbour to death. During the trial, prosecutors stated that Dyleski’s reaction to an episode of Invader Zim entitled “Dark Harvest” had indicated a morbid fascination with images of body parts. In the episode, Zim gathers human organs in an attempt to appear more convincingly human. However, this accusation was later dismissed when witnesses for the defense said that the remarks in question were not meant to be taken seriously.

Drawn Together

Combine South Park with Big Brother and just about any spoofable aspect of popular culture you can think of, and you get Drawn Together. This cartoon is a fake reality show following the lives of eight characters sharing a house. Each character is an obvious parody of another well-known character in popular culture: there’s Wooldoor (SpongeBob), Toot (Betty Boop), Ling-Ling (Pikachu), Foxxy (Valerie from Josie and the Pussycats), Xandir (a gay anime character), Clara (a Disney princess), Captain Hero (Superman) and Spanky (a pig who is apparently an internet download). We’re not quite sure what the pig is doing there either.

Despite innocuous appearances, this show is anything but tame. In fact, if you’re easily offended, or even not-so-easily offended, take caution. One particular episode of the show sees Foxxy and Spanky competing to see who can trick the pizza delivery guy into taking back a pizza with an, um, rather questionable topping (of the bodily products kind). The details are too stomach-churningly gross to mention here – and this alone is probably a good indication of the level of vulgarity in the show. But hey, if you’ve got nerves of steel and a taste for rough humour (think Family Guy, only much, much worse), this show is definitely for you.

Illustration: Simon-Kai Garvie

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